Business Development Director
Creativedge Training & Development Ltd
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Presenting an idea at a meeting can be a daunting prospect. Weeks or months of preparation, all riding on a few minutes’ performance, is enough to intimidate the most seasoned business person.
So how can you go into the meeting with confidence?
Here are 5 Tips to help you deliver a powerful pitch:
1. Preparation, preparation, preparation
Preparation is the key, making sure you know your facts and figures in particular. Watching Dragons’ Den contestants crumble when asked for their forecast margins is painful, and you don’t want that to happen to you.
Rehearse until you have memorised every detail, then relax and get excited about sharing your superb idea!
2. Practice your elevator pitch
Make the opening of your presentation concise and compelling. Develop and practice an elevator pitch, and use it in the first minute or so. You need to capture people’s imaginations early on if you are to convince them to believe in your idea as much as you do.
(Elevator pitch: a brief, persuasive speech used to spark initial curiosity in what you or your organisation does. It should create interest in a project, idea, or product – or in yourself. A good elevator pitch should last no longer than a short elevator ride of 20 to 30 seconds, hence the name!).
3. Understand your audience
Pitch your presentation correctly. Who is your audience? What do they already know? You will aim it differently for a Board of Directors, than for a sales team. Ask yourself: What’s in it for them? How will they benefit from embracing your idea – and then ensure your presentation covers this.
Predict any concerns they might have, and answer them early on. Tackling questions before they have even been asked will impress your listeners, as they will know you have thought through every detail.
4. Be enthusiastic!
In the midst of the detail, however, don’t forget to share your enthusiasm. Once you have reassured your listeners that your idea won’t lose them money or lead to a whole load of extra work – it’s your conviction, passion, and belief in the potential of your proposal that will seduce them into supporting it.
5. Be realistic
Balance your enthusiasm and optimism with realism. Those listening to you will feel that you are insulting their intelligence if your predictions are totally off beam, which will not endear you, or your idea, to them!
Some entrepreneurs recommend presenting a best case, a medium case, and a worst case scenario, and as long as the worst case scenario is still a decent prospect, the presentation will be well received.